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Afraid of top bed without fence

KariannNor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 23, Primitivo 24, San Salvador 24
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
 
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That's a very reasonable question. There are usually as many lower as upper bunks, not many places now with three tiers. A polite request to exchange if only uppers remain should work if you explain. Also mostly there is a safety rail. You can also send a message in advance asking if your Spanish isn't up to phoning, or ask today's hospi to phone tomorrow's hospi.
 
I have only stayed in one place where that was a concern, and it was because there was a safety rail, but it was only one side, and the bed was not against the wall. My friend and I had been assigned this bunk (upper and lower). Our solution was her sleeping on a sofa in the common room, and me sleeping on the bottom bunk.

I only stayed in two albergues while on the Salvador (La Robla and Picadura), and neither one had top bunks without rails.
 
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That's a very reasonable question. There are usually as many lower as upper bunks, not many places now with three tiers. A polite request to exchange if only uppers remain should work if you explain. Also mostly there is a safety rail. You can also send a message in advance asking if your Spanish isn't up to phoning, or ask today's hospi to phone tomorrow's hospi.
Thank you for good advice 👍
 
I will add to your fear with a short story.

During the early 1980's while doing my OE I stayed in a Youth Hostel north of Vancouver somewhere.

The rooms had bunks and a concrete floor.

I was allocated a bottom bunk. Above me was a young German guy.

I was woken in the middle of the night by shouting and thrashing around above me, the German guy was having a dream.

Then he yelled something in German really loud and hurled himself off his bunk.

I heard and felt the "thud" as he hit the floor.

I lay there for a while wondering if I should get up and check to see if he was okay as there wasn't any sound coming from him.

I was just about to get up when he muttered something quietly, under his breath, got up, climbed back up into his bunk and went back to sleep!

Moral of the story, I guess, is if you are going to fall out of the top bunk then make sure that you are still asleep and fully relaxed when you do so and there is a good chance that you, like the German guy, won't be injured. 😂
 
The muni in Berducedo on the Primitivo I stayed at has literally no railings on the top bunks. We were assigned the last two bunks, both top and one of them was literally tied with a cord to the handle on the window. Untying it caused the bunk to sway back and forth. I just looked it up online and here is the picture shown...no railings at all and the ladder is on the end.
Screenshot_20240413-195207~2.png
 
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While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
 
While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
It might be uncommon but it happens. And falling from that height can have serious consequences.
 
It’s purely in one’s mind.
Which doesn't make it any less scary. In fact, one's mind is generally far scarier than reality. And there's no escaping it.

@KariannNor , on my last camino I once asked younger people to swap to top bunks for the benefit of two older pilgrims ( not myself, I'm only 60!), which they did with complete Grace. I was going to give up my lower bunk for a third but the gentleman concerned wouldn't hear of it. ( I actually think he was miffed at me for suggesting it!).

I saw it happen completely unprompted on at least one other occasion.
In one Albergue the Hospitalero's were arbiterally assigning anyone under 30 top bunks. I have no idea how common a practice that is.

It's wise to face up to your fears, it's not too hard to post them online, harder to voice them aloud. But if you do, I suspect you will find many who are willing to assist. Good luck, sleep well!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I stayed in a hostel once and someone dragged the mattress to the middle of the floor and I though, hygiene aside - what a disrespectful thing to do! The room was small enough without making it so untidy.

Solution:
In privates, book in advance-specify your request.
In municipals, arrive early.

If you exhausted those options, you can always ask if someone will swap with you. I don't mind the upper bunk as long as the bed is sturdy, there's a small shelf for my stuff, and ideally there's a chair nearby to let me jump up and down quickly (the positioning of the ladder is usually awkward).
 
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My issue with top bunks is that I often have to urinate during the night and getting up and down the ladder, in the dark, while trying not to disturb anyone else usually causes me to stumble or slip.
 
Don’t be

Get a head lamp Aldi/Lidl sell them cheaply and means you’ve got light that you can direct without holding hit and blinding others on way to the facilities.
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out).
Been confronted with your fears is part of a camino. But I never seen a top bunkbed without railing!
Tell more.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
+1

Headlamps and bike lights are designed to light up meters ahead when outdoors and to be seen by traffic. They should not be used where people are sleeping regardless of brightness setting or colour (red/white)
I’ve seen this in many hostels without much impact
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Our first night in Roncevalles we heard a large thump which woke us up. A big Irish lad had fallen. My wife did some stitching of his bleeding forehead. This scared the wits out of many of us. Since then, I have been very leary of top bunks with no fences and have used every possible means to find a lower bunk. That works most of the time. If all efforts failed, I decided to use my backpack as my fence. It left me little room to wiggle around but it did give me peace of mind and restful sleep.
 
While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
Yes, that's right if ones mind is used to 75cm. But my mind is used to much bigger on my own, and often end up on the other side of the bed, it goes without saying that I can roll out at 75cm. Bottom bunk is scary enough.
 
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Been confronted with your fears is part of a camino. But I never seen a top bunkbed without railing!
Tell more.
10..jpg
Have found 6 places on various routes with beds like this. Some places with a fence only on one side, which is also out of the question for me. Very good that they show pictures, so I get to write down where I'm not going. The problem is those who only show pictures of, for example, the outside of the house itself and not the beds. I'm not going there either.
11.jpg
 
It might be uncommon but it happens. And falling from that height can have serious c
While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
It happens, herself fell off the top bunk in Roncesvalles. First thing that hit the floor was her heel. She spent the next six month's in a boot. She the only one I know that fell out of bed.
 
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Our first night in Roncevalles we heard a large thump which woke us up. A big Irish lad had fallen. My wife did some stitching of his bleeding forehead. This scared the wits out of many of us. Since then, I have been very leary of top bunks with no fences and have used every possible means to find a lower bunk. That works most of the time. If all efforts failed, I decided to use my backpack as my fence. It left me little room to wiggle around but it did give me peace of mind and restful sleep.
Backpacks on beds are definitely a no-no due to bedbugs!
 
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Those of you who have never seen a bunkbed without a railing - lucky you! I have slept several times in top bunks with no railing, quite terrifying. I am 72 (I'm slow, so that's why I never get a bottom bunk) and usually get up once in the night. It's not fun. I've said before that the quick strong youngsters who get to the albergue first should take the upper bunks and leave the low ones to us geezers.
 
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While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
Hah
Never say never
KariannNor is right
I’d never sleep on the top bunk
Rails or no rails and those ladders are a no no, as Camino Chrissy said “ouch”

Last year, I fell out of the bed
A big bed
And it wasn’t even MY side of the bed
and I was stone cold sober!
All I remember was hitting the floor
Thank heavens it was carpet and not wood
Sure woke me up fast
 
As a child, my son slept in a loft bed that wasn't quite as high as a top bunk. It didn't have a rail on it. He never fell out, despite the fact that he normally slept right at the edge of the mattress.

Then one time I took him and my daughter on a short vacation. Our hotel room had two queen sized beds. My daughter and I slept in one, while my son had an entire large bed to himself. He fell off. 😄
 
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While it seems scary, it’s the same as sleeping in the bottom bunk space wise. So ask yourself, how often do you fall out of bed usually?!?! My guess is never, so the fact that you are elevated five feet up does not increase that risk. It’s purely in one’s mind.
I’m assuming that the OP has a form of phobia regarding the top bunk. As such it is unlikely to be affected by rational argument. We all have our forms of “unreason.” I hope she manages to resolve the issue. I’m sure most people, presented with a reasonable request, would accommodate her by swapping should that be necessary.
 
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So it is not cerca, as I get when translating from my language.. ?

Cerca is near?
Edit: ah, you translated fence! No, it's not a "fence" even in English. It's a rail.

Litera de abajo, litera de arriba.. bottom bunk, top bunk.

barandilla de seguridad is a safety rail.

The problem with phoning up with these questions is 1 the language barrier, and 2 the person in the townhall may not be the same person who is working in the albergue and might not know about the facility.

That being said, legally they have to accommodate people who may not be fit to climb stairs (this might not apply to donativos). In galicia i noticed municipal albergues have an accessible room that has 1+ regular beds en-suite.
 
My issue with top bunks is that I often have to urinate during the night and getting up and down the ladder, in the dark, while trying not to disturb anyone else usually causes me to stumble or slip.
Use a head torch!
 
I had only one bunk without a rail on the French Camino. If you book on the Booking app, then request a lower bunk in the notes. If just turning up, I suggest you try to arrive early and ask for a lower bunk then. Another option is to practice before you go - and/or have some counseling to give some effective techniques to deal with your anxiety about this.
 
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I had only one bunk without a rail on the French Camino. If you book on the Booking app, then request a lower bunk in the notes. If just turning up, I suggest you try to arrive early and ask for a lower bunk then. Another option is to practice before you go - and/or have some counseling to give some effective techniques to deal with your anxiety about this.
Counselling!
God give me strength!
Will counselling help the OP from falling out of the top bunk
Just asking
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
I wonder if it would help to stretch a cord across (like one of those portable clotheslines) from the head to the foot of the bed like a railing. It won't be wood or steel, but will provide some resistance.
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
I get it. I hate top bunks anyway. I checked in somewhere once (non Camino), and there was no rail and the whole structure was unsafe. I asked them to do something to to no avail so just put the mattress on the floor and slept there! Not ideal but only thing I could think of. Alway an option!

Don’t be embarrassed . It’s a real fear! I have seen loads of non railed, they are not that rare, certainly off Camino anyway!
 
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Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
+1

Headlamps and bike lights are designed to light up meters ahead when outdoors and to be seen by traffic. They should not be used where people are sleeping regardless of brightness setting or colour (red/white)
That’s incorrect. Decent headlamps will have a brightness setting. I have one of those. Also good headlamps will have a red light that lights the way without blinding anyone.
 
Don’t be

Get a head lamp Aldi/Lidl sell them cheaply and means you’ve got light that you can direct without holding hit and blinding others on way to the facilities.
Get one with a red "night light" feature, works great for navigating the bunk-dorm-corridor-bathroom route without disturbing the masses
 
I’ve seen this in many hostels without much impact
I have seen people come close to a physical altercation because a selfish pilgrim with a headlamp on was moving around an albergue in the dark and carelessly shining the headlamp into the eyes of sleeping people.

Please think outside of your own requirements.
 
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I have seen people come close to a physical altercation because a selfish pilgrim with a headlamp on was moving around an albergue in the dark and carelessly shining the headlamp into the eyes of sleeping people.

Please think outside of your own requirements.
I did once, after being woken twice by the same person with head torch threaten to rip it off her head, jump up and down on it, and make her eat the pieces. It didn't happen a third time. I'm not proud of what I said but after a long hard day I really needed my sleep. At least I would have jumped on the torch and not her head.
All you need to see the way is the screensaver on a phone (just that, not the torch function)
 
Stop being selfish!

What would your advice be to someone who has balance problems and needs light to stop falling over? Not everyone is blessed with perfect health and balance. At home I use a UV (a.k.a black light) as crashing around in the dark would not be appreciated by Mrs CB.

Black light is as good a the red/green option and is usually more readily available to purchase. It doesn't disturb but I wouldn't advise its use it in a public space like a dorm. It tends to show up all the organic splashes that would otherwise be invisible in daylight. Hotel inspectors use them.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
What would your advice be to someone who has balance problems and needs light to stop falling over? Not everyone is blessed with perfect health and balance. At home I use a UV (a.k.a black light) as crashing around in the dark would not be appreciated by Mrs CB.

Black light is as good a the red/green option and is usually more readily available to purchase. It doesn't disturb but I wouldn't advise its use it in a public space like a dorm. It tends to show up all the organic splashes that would otherwise be invisible in daylight. Hotel inspectors use them.
Read the post prior to yours.

Having done that, then get your stuff prepared the night before so that in the morning you can simply carry a small number of items out of the bedroom in one trip and prepare yourself for the day in a common area, with light where no one is asleep.

If that doesn't work for you then buy some night vision goggles.
 
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I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Hello, not irrational fear at all. I have the same fear, particularly if inside a sleeping bag! I’m walking the Camino in October and am praying that there will be bottom bunks available. Buen Camino and good luck finding bottom bunks
 
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I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Only happened once to me, in Italy on the VF. Bunk beds in the middle of the room, I was on the upper bunk, no wall or rails and I knew I couldn't risk it.
I just put my mattress on the floor, nobody objected, they understood! Put it back up in the morning.
 
It is rare to find bunk beds with no rail but they are there. It's also quite rare to not be offered a choice but again YMMV.

To others your fear might seem slightly irrational but it's your fears and that's all good. I'd try not to worry about it until you find a rare example of an albergue without a ground floor bunk available & no rails on the top. You may well find that the worry was over nothing in the end
 
tineo-mater-6.jpgtineo-meras-8.jpgtineo-plaza-6.jpg

To those of you who say they are rare. These are 3 of 4 albergues in Tineo. The fourth has no pictures, so I don't dare there either (well, will send them a questions about how the beds are). And there are other places too with several like this. Yes, one of them has a curtain, but I don't think that helps. Must be hotel or no stop there. No, the fear is not rational, does not help me.
 
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No, the fear is not rational, does not help me.
Hi Kariann I am late to this thread -- but I want to offer my support. I don't see any reason for people to tell you that your fear is irrational or that it's all in your mind. I too have avoided those beds and we are clearly not the only ones. Another post commented that you are unlikely to fall out of bed at home so there is no greater risk on the camino. I don't agree. Adjusting position and / or getting out of bed is something often done on 'auto pilot'. Sleeping in a different bed, different environment every night - let alone a metre or more higher above the floor - can be disorientating. While walking caminos, I've often woken up - both in the middle of the night and in the morning - not initially knowing where I am.

On the second night of my first camino a young pilgrim took a fall from just such a top bunk in the municipal albergue in Larrassoana. He was left with a problem with his shoulder and nasty facial injuries. On my second camino 18 months later, I met another pilgrim who had a similar fall in a different albergue. I mention this not to add to your fears - I imagine these instances are RARE. But that does not mean your desire to avoid them is irrational.

The good news is that 1) you are informing yourself to avoid the situation as best you can; and 2) it is highly likely that your hosts and / or fellow pilgrims will accommodate your request for a low bunk.

Wishing you all the best.
 
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Another post commented that you are unlikely to fall out of bed at home so there is no greater risk on the camino. I don't agree. Adjusting position and / or getting out of bed is something often done on 'auto pilot'. Sleeping in a different bed, different environment every night - let alone a metre or more higher above the floor - can be disorientating. While walking caminos, I've often woken up - both in the middle of the night and in the morning - not initially knowing where I am.
Thank you! 50+ comments and this is the first time that someone mentions this.

As you described, falls do happen. I remember a case mentioned in a newsletter for the Roncesvalles albergue where a young man fell from the top bed and broke his hip. Hospital in Pamplona and end of Camino for him. I think that you are right: the reason for such accidents are not only cases where somebody slips on the steps leading to/from the top bed in the dark but are also due to sleepiness, disorientation, being in an unfamiliar environment. You want to get out of bed and you are not paying attention to the fact that the floor is much further away than at home or in a hotel - short drops that you have been used to all your life and you are "on auto-pilot" as you said.
 
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Hi Kariann I am late to this thread -- but I want to offer my support. I don't see any reason for people to tell you that your fear is irrational or that it's all in your mind. I too have avoided those beds and we are clearly not the only ones. Another post commented that you are unlikely to fall out of bed at home so there is no greater risk on the camino. I don't agree. Adjusting position and / or getting out of bed is something often done on 'auto pilot'. Sleeping in a different bed, different environment every night - let alone a metre or more higher above the floor - can be disorientating. While walking caminos, I've often woken up - both in the middle of the night and in the morning - not initially knowing where I am.

On the second night of my first camino a young pilgrim took a fall from just such a top bunk in the municipal albergue in Larrassoana. He was left with a problem with his shoulder and nasty facial injuries. On my second camino 18 months later, I met another pilgrim who had a similar fall in a different albergue. I mention this not to add to your fears - these instances are RARE. But that does not mean your desire to avoid them is irrational.

The good news is that 1) you are informing yourself to avoid the situation as best you can; and 2) it is highly likely that your hosts and / or fellow pilgrims will accommodate your request for a low bunk.

Wishing you all the best.
Great point! I think also many walkers are maybe older with the need to visit the bathroom more, on shortish trips so harder to acclimatize, and have come from far afield! I stay in many hostels (non Camino) and it can be very disorientating being on different beds all the time!
 
it can be very disorientating being on different beds all the time!
This is so true. When we visit overnight at a relative's home, the guest room has a very high bed with extremely thick mattresses. There is a small two step stool to climb into the bed. Being disoriented as @Pelerina mentioned when waking up, I have occasionally slipped, slithered, and slid out of bed onto the floor, falling down, thankfully on carpet.
 
To those of you who say they are rare. These are 3 of 4 albergues in Tineo

In your photos I would be uncomfortable if in a top bunk in the first picture, since those metal bunks can be wobbly and don't feel very sturdy, plus they are not even against a wall.

The other two I would feel okay in, because they are sturdier beds, and have the wall on one side. In fact I stayed at the albergue in the second picture with the red curtains in Tineo. I was in a bottom bunk though, so I hadn't noticed that there was no rail on the top bunk. When I was there last June I think that most everyone got a bottom bunk because it was no where near full. It's also a place that you can reserve, so you should be able to request a bottom bunk.
 
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It's also a place that you can reserve, so you should be able to request a bottom bunk.
You mean we can actually request our preference for a bottom bunk at albergues that allow online or Whatsapp reservations?...good to know....I guess I've been living in the dark ages, thinking you get what you get; didn't know we had a choice.
 
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I’ve been told it’s first come first served.
I would think that is usually the case, although if private albergues are listed on booking.com there is a message box. I have requested rooms with views or balconies occasionally on guest houses/hotels and have sometimes gotten them, although usually I have paid extra when it is offered as an option...never tried it though on an albergue using Whatsapp,but am not surprised at what you say.
 
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I’ve been told it’s first come first served.

It is and it's not.

For people who can't climb a ladder, I'm sure they'll be accommodated.

However, "i know you don't permit reservations but me and the gals are arriving around 7pm and we want bottom bunks" won't get you very far.
 
It is and it's not.

For people who can't climb a ladder, I'm sure they'll be accommodated.

However, "i know you don't permit reservations but me and the gals are arriving around 7pm and we want bottom bunks" won't get you very far.
I travel alone, try to arrive well before 7, and am 72 years old. I can usually climb UP but DOWN, in the middle of the night—now that’s another story. :)
 
You can just ask the hostel, via booking. com message pr via WA. Sometimes you get, sometimes you don’t. Some people are helpful, some aren’t! That applies globally.

I left a pair of glasses in a hostel the other day. Was at airport when realised! Messaged the owner who was a great guy! He’s gonna send them onto another city by post. No big deal! Many would not bother. Same with bed requests! Don’t ask, don’t t get!
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thankfully I got the last bottom bunk:

579AlbergueBorres.jpg

I think if I HAD to take the top bunk, because all the other beds were taken, I would pull the mattress off and take it outside to sleep on. Put my poncho on the ground underneath it, so it didn't get dirty.
 
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… if I HAD to take the top bunk, because all the other beds were taken, I would pull the mattress off and take it outside to sleep on. Put my poncho on the ground underneath it, so it didn't get dirty.
I’m with you Jill. I’ve seen the triple bunks twice from memory. Can’t recall where but think it was on my first Camino, the Frances in 2011. You couldn’t pay me to sleep up there, ‘safety’ rail or not. 🥺
 
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Thankfully I got the last bottom bunk:

View attachment 167959

I think if I HAD to take the top bunk, because all the other beds were taken, I would pull the mattress off and take it outside to sleep on. Put my poncho on the ground underneath it, so it didn't get dirty.


Hmmm…I no likey triple tier bunks
 
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Jill, I see no rails anywhere. I guess there are more of those than I ever realized. Did you have to sign a waiver before they allowed you to stay the night?😅
 
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View attachment 167918View attachment 167919View attachment 167920

To those of you who say they are rare. These are 3 of 4 albergues in Tineo. The fourth has no pictures, so I don't dare there either (well, will send them a questions about how the beds are). And there are other places too with several like this. Yes, one of them has a curtain, but I don't think that helps. Must be hotel or no stop there. No, the fear is not rational, does not help me.
Hi KariannNor: fears are fears; we ALL , every single solitary one of us, have them - just not the same as others' . I won't sleep in top bunk; fear of falling out; also needing to get up in the night. If at all possible I would check out if there is a cheap/affordable other hotel/hostal etc option locally; then check with hospitalera/o re rails; then if no rails, I would definitely ask if a bottom-dweller could swap (I would be really surprised if no-one would); might the hospitalera/o allow someone to sleep on the floor/sofa etc? Then if all that fails, I would high-tail it to my back-up - assuming there was one.
I really hope that you find somewhere you can get decent sleep as its essential for repair from the day's walk. I wish you Good luck and a Buen Camino
 
I’m with you Jill. I’ve seen the triple bunks twice from memory. Can’t recall where but think it was on my first Camino, the Frances in 2011. You couldn’t pay me to sleep up there, ‘safety’ rail or not. 🥺
Not seen one on Camino, but I have seen one in Perugia, Italy! It was sooooo high! Scary!

Again a non Camino hostel a few months back, non Europe, the dorm had just renovated! Very pleased when owner said bottom bunk no problem. When in there, there were actually proper steps to the top bunk. At the bottom there was just a stairway going up and wrapping round! Never seen that before!!
 
I travel alone, try to arrive well before 7, and am 72 years old. I can usually climb UP but DOWN, in the middle of the night—now that’s another story. :)
I also need to get up at night, sometimes twice. How about using Depends adult diapers and drink a lot of water late afternoon and no water say after 7 pm ? I am going to practice the intake of water late afternoon to avoid the nightly bathroom breaks. Those ladders at night in the dark, is a huge fear of mine also.
 
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I managed to get bottom bunks on the CF in October. On two occasions i was given a top bunk despite asking for one. i declined. They found me a bottom bunk. These were both donativos. This is one reason I try not to stay in donativos.
A municipal Albergue had run out of bottom bunks so they rang another for me and booked a bottom bunk.
I booked a private Albergue in SJPP on Booking.com. i asked for a bottom bunk but they declined. I was there at opening time so plenty of lower bunks.
I would ring an albergue when close to town and ask if a lower bunk was available.
I got up early and arrived early. It increases your chances of getting a lower bunk.
 
I have seen people come close to a physical altercation because a selfish pilgrim with a headlamp on was moving around an albergue in the dark and carelessly shining the headlamp into the eyes of sleeping people.

Please think outside of your own requirements.
I guess you haven’t done much overnight back country hiking? Headlamps with a red lamp setting are very common and they do not disturb others or ‘blind’ them.
 
Stop being selfish!
As a fellow Kiwi (I assume) I’m surprised you haven’t encountered head torches as they are really commonly used by NZ trampers. And it’s easy to get one with a dimmer and/or a red lamp setting. These are specifically designed not to disturb other people or wild life.
 
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Backpacks on beds are definitely a no-no due to bedbugs!
If I was faced with a top bunk with no railing, I would definitely use my pack as a fence. Way more scared of falling out than bedbugs.
Scared of heights to begin with so glad I haven't faced one yet.
 
I guess you haven’t done much overnight back country hiking? Headlamps with a red lamp setting are very common and they do not disturb others or ‘blind’ them.
Outside hiking you will probably not disturb many people who are tired and would like their sleep. We are discussing what happens in a dorm, admittedly a bit off the original topic. Believe me, your red light will disturb me.
 
As a fellow Kiwi (I assume) I’m surprised you haven’t encountered head torches as they are really commonly used by NZ trampers. And it’s easy to get one with a dimmer and/or a red lamp setting. These are specifically designed not to disturb other people or wild life.
It doesn't work very well, then.
 
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Thankfully I personally didn't need to use the bathroom at night until daybreak. I never brought a torch, and I rarely woke up at night by them. I do recall throwing my sleeping bag up over my head a few times, but always fell right back asleep a few seconds later. We are all different, but the night use of torch lights never bothered me.
 
So how do you think people who go to the bathroom at night should find their way in total darkness? It's completely natural to need it at night, and I think everyone should be confident that it's perfectly okay and of course understandable. If you can't tolerate it, you have to find accommodation for yourself.

And why is it wrong to go off topic? It is clear that many have thoughts, but maybe this tread should be called "surviving nights in albergues".
You use a small discreet light held in your hand. How hard can that be? The screensaver on a phone works nicely. I didn't say it was wrong to go off topic, but hey, start a new thread if you want.
I'm adding a bit more to my reply here. I answered your original post where you started this thread, and I want to make my thoughts very clear without offending anyone.
I am happy to sleep in a top bunk so you can have a lower one. I do also understand that people need to use the toilet at night. I sometimes do myself.
What I'm not happy about is your suggestion that I should accept having a bright light shone on my face or find other accommodation. I didn't suggest that you needed to go elsewhere rather than have a top bunk, did I? It works both ways, or doesn't it? Head torches, which are designed and intended for outdoor use, shine very precisely in the eyes of anyone in an upper bunk. A small light held in a hand can be accurately pointed at the floor. Now, how about we all try to accept that we need to be thoughtful when sharing a room? You need a bottom bunk and I need to sleep in the dark. Neither is impossible, incompatible, or even difficult. When you go on your first Camino I hope you will have a great time, just remember we all want the same thing. Thank you
 
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I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Hola peregrina. I had similar worries about falling off the top bunk when I walked the Camino Frances. When the top bunks were the only choice, I was usually too tired to look elsewhere so just had faith I wouldn’t fall. I remember thinking at the time that if this was a problem there would be side rails. However I certainly preferred the bunks that did.
After walking the Camino Frances and Portuguese as well as some other Camino sections I never fell off or heard of anyone falling off the top bunk. I was also a hospitalera at the Najera Albergue in 2018 for 2 weeks with up to 65 pilgrims some nights and no one fell off the bunk when I was there. Somehow the body seems to know to stay put. At my age (70+) the problem now is getting up and down that ladder! Luckily it seems in many places that the lower bunks are saved for folks for that reason and for the necessity to get up in the night for trips to the bathroom. When I was a hospitalera we did our best to accommodate those who preferred or needed them.
In the end your feelings are real and I am sure they will be respected regardless of your age or ability. And it’s best to make a request when booking. Buen Camino 🙂
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Ask for a litera inferior. Lower bunk. Say “tengo miedo de caer “. I am afraid of falling.
 
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Last night in Santo Domingo. Main albergue. 200 plus. Young lady opposite in room of 12. Top bunk. One side railing o ly. Discussed with her if faced with this fear in another place, tie her sleeping bag to the railing with some slack to allow her to turn into the middle of the bunk. No option this time to do it. Prayed for her. Big crash in the night. Young Italian on top bunk above me dropped his phone down the wall under my bunk. Both under the bed to retrieve it. Young lady slept soundly and all was well
 
A group of us met on the train to SJPdP, formed a Camino family and walked to Burgos. One fellow drank way too much that night and fell out of his top bunk. He cracked his skull and had permanent hearing loss and that ended his Camino.
A couple of ideas:
Take a strong line to tie back and forth between head and feet of the bed to make your own rail. Then put a towel, scarf, coat, clothes whatever (maybe take something lightweight and long for this purpose) over the rail and under the mattress. Your weight should hold it there and it will act as a barrier.
Sew a strong strap (Velcro?) to the top and foot of your sleeping bag and use that to tie it to the wall side of the bunk bed to stop you from moving too close to the unprotected edge.
Buen Camino
 
I have a confession. I am terrified of - and yes now feel free to laugh - the top bed in bunks with no railing/fence (something to stop you falling out). I've managed to get away with it except once. Arrived late and asked nicely if I could put the mattress on the floor somewhere. It was not ok for hygienic reasons, which I can understand. So then I went on, and thank God I found a hotel, expensive but I escaped and survived. What worries me now is that on Salvador and Primitivo I see places, which I might want to stop, where there are no pictures of the beds at Gronze, only the facade of the house, and the only option is hotels. (Those who have pictures where there are fences are no problem). So then I don't know. Those of you who are/have been hospitaleros, will they answer me (or just laugh, as they probably will anyway) if I send a request in advance about this? I'm neither very old or disabled, so I feel wanting the lowest bed is kind of inappropriate. But I would very much like to have the "real" pilgrim social feeling of staying in albergues. So stupid/idiotic this is so important to me, I know, it's just the way it is.
Just ask a lower bunk user if you can trade telling him or her that you are afraid. A true pilgrim wouldn’t hesitate to help you out
 
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Just ask a lower bunk user if you can trade telling him or her that you are afraid. A true pilgrim wouldn’t hesitate to help you out

I would not say ‘true pilgrim’ but a normal human - will help you out. I always kindly / humbly ask for what I need (which is not always what I want) and invariably get looked after.
If you do end up being landed with a top bunk - after getting to the albergue early etc - ask around for a swap, explaining your problem. Last Camino I found younger people very willing to give me a bottom bunk even when I didn’t ask.
 

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